January 27, 2019-
One of my mother’s favourite sayings, “Charity begins at home”, was made a basis for many of my actions, as a child and as a teen. Nothing was made, or done, that wasn’t shared with family, on some level.
So it is, also, with conservation- as the late John McCain was also fond of saying. A few weeks ago, during the height of the ill-fated shutdown, I went up to Sunset Crater National Monument, to see if I might help with a clean-up. It turned out not to be necessary, though there was a mess, on Federal land, some twenty miles west. Others took care of that clean-up.
With the shutdown over, however temporarily, I decided to take some time, after a study session this afternoon, and check a popular local trail, Lynx Lake, for residual clean-up that might be needed. I was thanked by a few other hikers, especially accepting three pooper bags in my larger trash bag. It was rather cute, that a lone duck followed me in the water, as I walked along the north shore, collecting a few plastic bottles. It was almost as if it knew that the toxic items were being removed. Long story short, I put a half-filled trash bag in the dumpster of the south beach.
It was a minor effort, in the scheme of millions of acres of Federal land needing attention, after the lengthy hiatus. I can only hope that there were thousands of others stepping up and doing their part, with there being way too much to be done, as it is, by those returning to work. I think of the first National Historic Site I ever visited: Saugus Ironworks, of the most extensive I’ve ever seen: Grand Canyon and of the park I visited most recently for the first time: Valley Forge. Then, there is Arlington National Cemetery; today would have been the 95th birthday of my father-in-law, who is interred there, along with his wife.
I can only hope there are no more shutdowns of government, but if there are, I know to be ready to help, as a citizen.